Lansing Man Robbed At Gunpoint By Fake Cop

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"I started thinking about my kids and family, and things like that," victim Andre Chaney said.

Getting pulled over usually equals instant bad mood, but the frustration can instantly turn to fear when it's not actually a cop that comes to your window.

That's what happened to a 34-year-old Lansing man Monday night when he was robbed at gunpoint by a man impersonating a police officer.

Andre Chaney just wanted to meet some friends at Common Ground at around 10:30 p.m., and then his life changed forever because of a red flashing light.

"I noticed a car behind me that was like right up on the back of my car," Chaney said. "So, immediately I looked down to make sure I'm going the speed limit, because I was thinking, it's a police car."

Chaney was only going 35 mph heading north on Pennsylvania Ave., but he didn't want to risk it and slowed down.

"He lit up like a red light in his windshield, so I made a right hand turn on Lindbergh, and I stopped right at the corner, he pulled in behind me," Chaney said.

Then, Chaney watched in the mirror as the man walked up to his car. He was wearing jeans and a white shirt with a badge hanging around his neck, and a gun on his hip.

"I'm thinking that's an undercover officer," Chaney said. "Ok, what have I done?"

It was at that moment that his life flashed before his eyes.

"I saw the gun, and he was like, 'Give me your wallet.' So, I was like, you know what? You can take my wallet, you can take this car, you can take anything you want," Chaney said. "I started thinking about my kids and family, and things like that."

So, Chaney made a split second decision after the fake cop forced him out of the car at gunpoint. Chaney ran into the nearby park and called the police, who happen to be taking this incident very personally.

"We as police officers, what we get upset about is we take an oath, and uphold the law and protect the citizens of Lansing," Lansing Police Officer Robert Merritt said. "And I've got somebody out there impersonating me, and I take it very serious and very offensive."

Not only do they want to find the guy, they want to make sure no one else becomes a victim. People should know almost all police vehicles have several red and blue lights flashing, not just one color in the dash board. But police say it's better to be safe than sorry.

"You can always get on the phone and call the dispatcher," Officer Merritt said.

Police also recommend waiting to pull into a well-lit place, something Chaney will always do from now on.

"It was something that really opened my eyes last night and terrified me," Chaney said.

Fortunately, these incidents are very rare, but Lansing police understand people will probably be extremely cautious in the days ahead.

Lansing police want to remind people that all the department's cars are very well-marked. There's almost zero chance of an undercover cop making a traffic stop unless you're a wanted criminal, so they should be in uniform. Front flashing lights are also common.

Rolling down your window only a little bit when an officer approaches is acceptable, and don't be afraid to ask for ID.

If you have any information regarding the armed robbery, you're encouraged to call the Lansing police.

The suspect is described as a white male, 25-to-35 years old, about 6-feet-tall with short dark hair and a goatee. He was driving a dark Impala with a red blinking light on the dash board.

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